The Simon Wiesenthal Center slammed statements made by the EU representative’s to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in which he said that ‘’terrorist attacks against Israelis should not be surprising.’’
Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff declared: ‘’Terrorist attacks against Israelis should not be surprising given the depth of Palestinian suffering from the 74 years of conflict with Israel.’’
He added that ‘’when you are a Palestinian child living next to the separation wall, what do you think this child will grow up with.’’
“What do you think a child who sees the houses of their parents, their brothers and sisters demolished?,” he said during a conference attended by diplomats in Jerusalem and organized by the Alliance for Middle East Peace.
Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote a letter to European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to protest the EU official’s statements.
‘’On behalf of our 400,000 members we are aghast at the statements of your Representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff,’’ he wrote.
‘’As a German national, he has apparently forgotten his history and responsibility to the Jewish people, by such statement.’’
‘’The 74 years of conflict were begun by the Arabs, in the face of the Zionist leadership who, in 1948, offered peace and citizenship to those who stayed within the Israeli borders,’’ Samuels wrote.
He said that as an EU Representative to the Palestinian Authority Von Burgsdorff ‘’has broken the protocol of diplomacy.’’ ‘’With this language he deserves the title of “EU Representative to Hamas.”
‘’He didn’t mention the children in Israel, and especially those running on a daily basis to shelter from the rockets launched by Hamas,’’ he wrote, adding ‘’likewise, he charged that thousands of Palestinians had been killed since 2008, without mentioning Hamas criminals and ammunition, hidden in schools and their children used as human shields.’’
‘’Moreover, it is the Palestinian Authority and Hamas both vying for incitement to the worst antisemitic hate…adding to the horrific joy of parents at their dead chidren’s rank of ‘Shaheed Martyrs’,’’ Samuels wrote, calling von Burgsdorff ‘’ a threat to the EU who must be fired forthwith.”
It is not the first time that the EU representative makes controversial statements. In 2020, a senior European Union official, EU enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, ordered an investigation into whether EU’s funds are being used to finance Palestinian terror, pledging to rectify the situation if that is the case. His move followed protests by Israel and Jewish groups after Kühn von Burgsdorff sent a letter to a Palestinian NGO telling that ”affiliation with or support for groups on the EU restricted lists does not disqualify a person from receiving EU funding.”